6 Celebrities Who Were Raised in Cults

join for all different sorts of reasons. And while many of these groups are viewed as controversial, outliers, and even dangerous, they all have one thing in common: they appear to bring a sense of community to their group. This is a list of  who were raised in cults. For a list specifically about the Church of Scientology, check out this list of  who were raised Scientologists.

Who is the most famous person who was raised in a cult? Joaquin Phoenix tops this list. The Her actor was raised in the Children of God group until he was two years old. His family adopted the surname “Phoenix” after leaving the cult. His older brother, Stand By Me actor was also raised in the Children of God. What other famous families have joined cults? Read through the list below to find out.

Other whose parents were cult members include Emily Schromm and Glenn Close.

What do you think about cults? Do you think being raised in cults affected certain movie stars or your favorite actors? Would you ever consider joining one of the many real popular or religious cults? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

River Phoenix

River Phoenix was brought up in the Children of God group until he was eight years old. He and his sister, Rain, busked on the street in order to get food for their family. They lived in poverty while they were involved with the cult, receiving no financial support from its rich leader.


Patricia Arquette

Actor Patricia Arquette was raised in Skymont Subud commune along with the rest of her family and her parents’ friends. The community had no bathrooms, electricity, or running water. Her father, Lewis, was also a drug addict and abusive toward the family’s five children.

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Christopher Owens

Musician Christopher Owens’s family were members of the Children of God sect. He traveled throughout Asia and Europe to help recruit new members before leaving the cult when he was 16. His older brother died when he was a baby because the cult’s members didn’t believe in medical care, and sometimes his mother was forced to prostitute herself.

Owen told the Guardian about what it was like to live in the cult: “‘Imagine being raised in the Taliban,’ he says. ‘Being told everybody else in the world is bad, rejecting technology, rejecting medical research, being devoted to God and believing America was evil and the end of the world was coming: all the same principles.'”


Susan Cagle

Musician Susan Cagle’s (aka Susan Justice) family was a member of the Children of God cult. They frequently worked as street performers as they traveled around the world doing missionary work.


Emily Schromm

“The Real World: D.C.” cast member Emily Schromm grew up in a fundamentalist Christian cult in Columbia, MO. The reality star now identifies as bisexual and enjoys extreme sports and CrossFit.


Angel Haze

Rapper and singer Angel Haze was raised in a community of the Greater Apostolic Faith, a Pentecostal Christian denomination. She described it: “We all lived in the same community, within 10 minutes of each other. You weren’t allowed to talk to anyone outside of that.

You weren’t allowed to wear jewelry, listen to music, to eat certain things, to date people… You weren’t allowed to do pretty much anything.” The family fled the cult when Haze was 16.